Television Broadcast Ratings - Lesson Lesson Plan


Level: Grades 7 to 10

Author: This unit was adapted from activities in Meet the Media by Jack Livesley, Barrie McMahon, John Pungente S.J. and Robin Quin, and from Rating Prime Time Television, by Claire Davey.


This lesson introduces students to the theory behind television ratings and encourages them to explore the commercial pressures driving the medium. By learning about the relationships between programming, advertising and the ensuing rating wars,students will understand that television is, above all, a vehicle to sell advertisements.Through a series of activities, students learn about television ratings, the "Sweeps", prime-time programming, and a letter-writing activity where students voice their opinions about television programming.


Students will:

  • become critically aware of the commercial nature of television, including programming and the demographics of ratings systems
  • understand the effects of commercial programming on the nature and quality of television products
  • experience creative license by devising and pitching their own ideas for a potential prime time TV series
  • exercise writing skills and advocacy techniques by writing letters to television stations and networks

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) are available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.